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Alexander (2004)

Alexander (2004)

Colin FarrellAnthony HopkinsRosario DawsonAngelina Jolie
Oliver Stone


Alexander (2004) is a English movie. Oliver Stone has directed this movie. Colin Farrell,Anthony Hopkins,Rosario Dawson,Angelina Jolie are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2004. Alexander (2004) is considered one of the best Action,Biography,Drama,History,War movie in India and around the world.

Conquering ninety percent of the known world by the age of twenty-five, Alexander the Great (Colin Farrell) led his armies through twenty-two thousand miles of sieges and conquests in just eight years. Coming out of tiny Macedonia, Alexander led his armies against the mighty Persian Empire, drove west to Egypt, and finally made his way east to India. This movie concentrated on those eight years of battles, as well as his relationship with his boyhood friend and battle mate, Hephaistion (Jared Leto). Alexander died young, of illness, at the age of thirty-two. Alexander's conquests paved the way for the spread of Greek culture (facilitating the spread of Christianity centuries later), and removed many of the obstacles that might have prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire. In other words, the world we know today might never have been if not for Alexander's bloody, yet unifying, conquest.


Alexander (2004) Reviews

  • Not Good Enough


    The movie itself is a self-fulfilling prophecy as characters warn about sacrificing traditional austerity for wealth and pomp: Perhaps this happened to the filmmakers who had upwards of a hundred million dollars to work with. So maybe they felt they had to make it over-the-top instead of relying on a decent solid script. There are good things about this movie, but it is outweighed by negatives. The good is that there are many historically accurate facts: Aristotle was Alexander's tutor. Olympias raised Alexander to think he's a son of Zeus. Although the Greeks won by masterly employment of cavalry, the Persians also used cavalry. Cleitus and Parmenion were indeed killed. But the focus is somehow off. There is too much talking, too much reiteration, not enough action (there was a wealth of battles to choose from). That would be fine if the talking taught us more about history, but it usually happened in a totally unrealistic way. For instance, the scene where Philip is drunk and attacks Alexander. It was too verbose, and why was Olympias watching from afar? Why not keep it simple and true to the account? Why not have Alexander say simply and proudly, "What am I then, a bastard?" Then have Philip rush at Alexander immediately and trip--that would be spontaneous, interesting. For that matter, why rename Attalus' daughter from Cleopatra to Euterpe? Is it because Oliver Stone felt audiences would confuse her with the queen of Egypt? Why use the word 'guerilla' in a BC film unless the film was consistently anachronistic (like Shakespeare)? The worst part of the movie was Alexander himself. It is true that Alexander was sensitive, intelligent, brave, and disturbed. They tried to show his sensitive side too much, and as the movie went on he got more and more whiny, and this is where I turned the movie off. I think it would have been much more compelling to portray him as a narcissist who snaps without warning. Take the scene where he kills Cleitus: Alexander was blubbering a lot, and you could tell exactly what was going to happen. It would be far more compelling if Cleitus talked to him like that thinking that Alexander wouldn't get mad. Then suddenly Alexander snaps and throws the spear at him. Only then Alexander bursts out crying realizing what he's done. Also, going back and forth in time was really irritating and destroyed a lot of suspense that could've built up. Sorry for such a longwinded review on my part, but it is a really interesting story that needs to be done right. This and the film "W" confirm my impression that Oliver Stone is overrated. The best thing about this movie is that it made me want to cross-check it with the real historical facts.

  • So bad it (almost) borders on being good


    Wow, it's been a long time since I giggled so much watching an epic. For starters, we have Alexander, with his golden hair and Irish accent that makes you wonder whether he's looking for the ends of earth or his lucky charms, whose tale is narrated by Anthony Hopkins in his Hannibal Lector voice. They lead us through a dizzying, poorly structured epic tale that wanders over what feels like six hours but apparently is just under three. Along the way we meet his psychotic parents played as cartoons by Angelina Jolie and Val Kilmer. (seriously, was Angelina Jolie supposed to be a vampire?) He's also supported by his band of merry men, all wigged and eye-shadowed out. There's some particularly bad acting provided by Jonathan Rhys Meyers (shouting his way in an apparent audition for his role on the Tudors), but everyone basically spends a lot of time screaming at each other or making meaningless loud speeches. There are a lot of pretty shots, some interesting dance and party scenes, and numerous really bad sex/romance scenes. In the meantime to fill the endless spaces in the movie we get to seen teen angst, sexual frustration, Rosario Dawson in more eye make-up than all her other movies combined, way too much of Colin Ferrel (who oddly does not look good in sheer fabric), several death scenes so overwrought you wonder if the actors were just giddy that the movie was finally over for them. And the truest sign of any great film? The use of a red filter over battle scenes, together with overwrought music. I suppose I should just be glad Stone didn't rent Our Lady of Soundtrack Sorrow to wail over all the final scenes.

  • My take on this


    At first, I didn't feel much of a need to comment on the film, since so many others have written and have said so many things. But I think there are some really important points to made, and I haven't seen anyone make them. So here I am writing. In my opinion, almost everyone misunderstood the relationship between Hephaistion and Alexander. In the modern world, especially in the West, two men are either very close to each other, sleep together, and have sex, or they keep a good comfortable distance from each other and, if they're friendly, might punch each other on the arm. In this film, we see a relationship that is hard for most people today to understand, namely a passionate love relationship between two men in which sex is not very important and possibly even absent. Aristotle essentially explained the whole film near the beginning when he told the young couple something like the following, as best I can remember it, "When two men lie together in lust, it is over indulgence. But when two men lie together in purity, they can perform wonders." Or something like that. Given what I know of that culture, I am sure that "in purity" means no sex, or at least very little. That's why we never see them kiss. In the film, as in many older films, kissing is a metaphor for sex. Even when Alexander kisses his mother, it refers to the idea of sex. That's why Alexander kisses Bagoas, but not Hephaistion. Now I'm not sure if the real historical Aristotle would have made that remark. That's not exactly what he says about homosexuality in the Nicomachean Ethics. But the remark is plausible enough since Alexander could easily have heard such an idea during his youth. Plato (before Aristotle) expressed that idea, and Zeno of Citium (after Aristotle) did too. So even if Aristotle never said this to Alexander, it is plausible enough that the idea was in the air and that Alexander heard it from someone or other. Some have complained that the "homosexuality" (assuming that A's relationship with Heph. should even be called that) was thrown in their faces too much. But it's crucial to the plot. Stone is hypothesizing that Hephaistion was essential for what Alexander did. Further, it's a standard Hollywood convention to juxtapose a love story with some great political, military, or otherwise grand event. There are tons of examples. Titanic, Enemy at the Gates, Gone with the Wind, ... the list could go on forever. It really is homophobic to complain about Stone continually going back to this theme, because he has a perfectly good artistic reason to do it. A few more details: Alexander's hair. I think that Stone was trying to make Alexander look like Martin Potter in Satyricon -- a nod to Fellini. Alexander's accent and soft appearance. Another nod to a great director passed on, this time Stanley Kubrick. Farrel really looks a lot like Ryan O'Neil in Barry Lyndon. In fact, he really looks like a Ryan O'Neill / Martin Potter coalescence. I think it's deliberate. The softness of Alexander's personality. In a lot of scenes it made sense. He was gentle enough to know how to approach Bucephalus and tame him without scaring him. He was open minded enough to adopt a lot of Persian culture and encourage intermarriage, while the other more "he-man" folks around him were less comfortable with the idea. Yes, if you haven't figured it out by now, I do like the film. People's hatred of the film is hard for me to understand.

  • Stone stumbles over Alexander


    When "Gladiator" stirred a latent interest in films about the ancient world I was so hopeful we would finally be able to enjoy some exciting cinema about my favorite time period. I have not been totally disappointed. USA Television network has given us Attila, Caesar, and Helen of Troy - not without flaws but solid efforts. Wolfgang Peterson's "Troy" did not resemble the Iliad I had studied but I appreciated the performances of Eric Bana and Brad Pitt. Brukheimer's "King Arthur" could have used more experienced epic direction but was loosely based on historical accounts of Sarmatian auxiliaries and their commanders in late Roman Britain and I liked the grittier result to the fairy tale legends of my childhood. Then I heard about Oliver Stone's production of "Alexander" and I was sure we would have a film of the caliber of "Ben Hur". Unfortunately, Stone managed to take what should have been a ready-made screenplay and solid performances by Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, and Colin Farrel and imparted as much insight into the character and charisma of the world's most famous conqueror and military genius as the images of shadowy figures thrashing about in the blinding dust of Stone's Gaugamela. His opening sequence with Anthony Hopkins, as Ptolemy I, droning on about his memories of Alexander was more protracted than a prologue to a History Channel documentary. In fact, I heard a man behind me mutter something like "I came to watch a movie not the History Channel!" Stone's next major error was to omit any scenes of Philip's military prowess. "The Lion of Macedon" was as much a military genius as his celebrated son but Stone leaves us with little more than an impression he was a drunken lout. The omission of the battle of Charonea was nothing short of a blunder since it epitomized the sharing of military experience between father and son with Philip masterminding the battle and Alexander, a mere 18-years old, leading the cavalry in a critical maneuver to assure the victory. Stone handles Alexander's tutelage by Aristotle clumsily as well. Instead of focusing on Alexander's insatiable curiosity about the world around him and how Aristotle nurtured his intellect, we see a brief scene where Aristotle is essentially defending Alexander's friendship with Hephaistion to a sneering Cassander. During Alexander's brief lifetime, Alexander maintained his relationship with his tutor for years, sending examples of plants and animals from the lands he conquered back to Aristotle for study. Then to skip both the battles of the Granicus River and Issus totally left me aghast. I think the most damaging omission was the battle of Issus. It is at Issus that Alexander first confronts Darius himself and Darius flees from the Macedonian onslaught, leaving his wife and daughters to Alexander's mercy. When Stone depicts Darius running from Alexander at Gaugamela it is done in such a way that the audience doesn't perceive it to be a lack of personal courage but just an escape, especially without the knowledge that Darius had broken and run from Alexander before. Furthermore, Gaugamela was not executed in a way that illuminated Alexander's strategy and daring. Stone should have watched "Alexander: The Art of War" produced by the Discovery Channel for better insight. Stone treats us to only one last battle scene in India at the Hydapses River. Again, it looks more like a running jungle battle vis-a-vis Vietnam than a carefully strategized battle where Alexander had to execute a tenuous river crossing below the expected battle site to draw some of King Porus' forces away from the center and enable Alexander's infantry to be effective. As for the near mortal wound, Alexander was wounded at the siege of Malia, a fortified town on the way back to the Indian Ocean. He dashed over the ramparts of the town before his main force could catch up to him and he wound up cut off and, with three other companions, cornered and fighting for his life. Two of his companions were killed and a severely wounded Alexander is protected by the last remaining companion bearing the shield Alexander had supposedly taken from the grave of Achilles at Troy - another missed cinematic opportunity! As for Alexander's bisexuality, I objected to Stone's portrayal of Hephaistion as an eye-linered catamite walking around in billowing robes. Hephaistion was as skilled a warrior as Alexander and a successful commander in his own right. Maybe Stone could not bring himself to accept a deep relationship between two very masculine men. Now, I can only hope that the vehicle starring Leonardo diCaprio is produced or HBO gives Alexander the treatment he deserves with a blockbuster miniseries like "Band of Brothers".

  • Tragic


    The critic and film historian Robert Sarris said of Robert Rossen's 1956 epic 'Alexander the Great', featuring Richard Burton as our titular hero, that it "aimed for greatness and lost honourably". Oliver Stone's current offering to the Dionysian gods of cinematic excess, 'Alexander', has much in common with it's predecessor but, sadly, honour isn't one of them. Like the earlier film and, for that matter, every film Stone has ever made, it's – at knocking on three hours – seriously in need of a good editor. It has an all-star cast, mostly drawn - in the great Hollywood tradition of the Classical world being populated by British character actors – from current Equity rosters (the likes of Olivier, Barry Jones and Michael Hordern are replaced by rather more low-rent personages as Tim Piggot-Smith, Brian Blessed and that big fella from the Scots Porridge Oats advert). Also, like the original movie it features a dark and hairy Celtic-type who can't do accents as the blond, blue-eyed Hellenic hero. With Burton – a man with natural presence and authority – this latter incongruity is more easily overlooked than is the case with Colin Farrell, who has the general demeanour of a bleached and strategically shaved Gremlin. Hairy Col's verbal limitations have also, it seems, led Stone to populate Macedonia with Irishmen – with a token Welshman and Scotsman thrown in for good measure (Greeks are all Englishmen, by the way). This means that Val Kilmer, as Alexander's dear old dad, Philip, has to adopt a brogue almost as astonishingly unconvincing as his wig, and that unintentional titters abound in the auditoria as hairy Hibernian's slap each other manfully on the back proclaiming such classic lines as "In t' name o' Zeus, Alexander, d'ye t'ink I'm a daft auld sod?" Foreigners are granted a variety of curious accents. Angelina Jolie sounds Russian and Athena alone knows where in Hades Rosario Dawson is supposed to come from. This coming from Laughin' Ollie Stone it's a poker-faced presentation, offering conspiracies a-plenty. I wouldn't have been surprised if there had been talk of a Lone Swordsman on a grassy Grecian knoll when Philip was offed. The main difference between this film and the 1956 offering comes in its treatment of Alexander's homosexuality. Nary a mention was made of Big Gay Al's rather more than Platonic relationships in Rossen's film. Here, it's evident, but is the object of knowing disdainful frowns from his contemporaries – which shows a pitiful understanding, on the part of Stone, of Hellenic sexual politics. Here it's clearly presented as a character flaw, showing nothing more clearly than the director's cowardice in addressing the issue: in a film notable for it's visceral excess, and which requires nudity from Rosario Dawson in a near-rape scene, Stone limit's Alexander's 'unnatural' appetites to precisely three hugs and two pecks on the lips. The film is a muddled hotch-potch of incidents from Alexander's life. This would be less of a muddle, admittedly, if a fifteen minute flashback two-thirds of the way through the film was presented as part of the otherwise straightforward linear narrative. There are a few parallels between the life-choices and characters of Alexander and Philip, but these appear almost to have been afterthoughts. The greatest impediments, though, are that - despite it's great length - characters are not permitted to evolve beyond one-note caricatures (though Kilmer, an actor I have little time for, normally, tries harder than most with what little screen time he has), and that Farrell has no authority whatever on screen. Thus, sorry though I am to have to say it, I am forced to confirm the critical evaluation of 'Alexander' offered by the Chavs whose departure from the cinema preceded my own. One succinctly noted "That was rotten." "Aye," said the other, referring to the pulchritudinous Ms Dawson, "But that coloured bird is kinda fit!" Indeed she is, boys. Indeed she is.


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